Size Doesn't Matter
Szentendre, Hungary - (map)
Friends and travel guides raved about Szentendre, espousing the town's narrow winding streets and perfectly preserved atmosphere. But after I took their advice and went, I found that every other tourist in Hungary had the same idea. The narrow winding streets walled me in with crushing Japanese and American name-tag wearing tour groups playing follow the leader with an umbrella waving fast talker, and the atmosphere preserved scores of shops selling t-shirts, crafts, pottery, and knickknacks.
But I'm not being entirely fair, as the town did have a certain bit of charm. The view on Castle Hill floated me above a sea of red tile roofs and church spires. The haunting chants of a priest from the orthodox Belgrade Cathedral echoed in my consciousness all day. But of all things I saw in Szentendre today, the Microart Gallery won the award for coolness.
At just one room, the museum's small size was fitting for the type of art that they exhibited. You don't come here to see wall-stretching Guernica-sized paintings, but rather to peer through microscopes at bizarre works of art that could, and frequently did, fit on the head of a pin.
The first one I spotted featured a human hair cut lengthwise and used as a canvas, on which the word "peace" was inscribed in five languages. I might add that the handwriting on the hair looked far better than mine on a regular sheet of paper.
In another work, the artist placed four camels, a palm tree, and a pyramid in the eye of a needle. (I guess he proved in his play on words that a rich man could enter the kingdom of God.)
Sixteen perfectly formed chess pieces rested on a chessboard and modeled the real life match between two masters. The board was actually sitting on the head of a pin.
The artist drilled one human hair lengthwise, forming a tube in which he inserted a miniature rose.
In my rounds of the exhibit, the miniature gold padlock and key impressed me the most. The work was perched on the end of a human hair, which when viewed in the microscope looked the size of a large dinner plate. Not to be outdone, the artist included copies of the five moving parts inside to show you the finer details and to prove that it was indeed a working lock.